The advent of automation propelled countries like America and Britain into industrial world leaders. Today, automation can be found in almost all industries, accelerating the production of every good imaginable. While automation has been extremely positive, its principles, techniques, and benefits are now being utilized by threat actors using hacking automation for illegitimate gains.
How Hacking Automation Works
Threat actors are deploying automation to expedite the theft of information, simultaneously creating tools and resources for other cybercriminals to scale up their own operations and campaigns. Here, in no particular order, are the main ways hackers use automation to their advantage.
The Sale of Databases
There are so many cyberattacks and data breaches that those distributing the databases can’t shift through it themselves at an efficient rate. These threat actors will use automation to pick out the most valuable data, like email addresses and passwords. Once they have acquired the relevant data, they then sell it.
Credential stuffing is the process by which a threat actor will use a list of stolen or commonly used passwords to break into accounts. Threat actors can use automated password cracking tools to fully automate this process of breaking into accounts and stealing information.
Phishing is one of the simplest cyberattacks to operate, with much of the process being automated by software. Attackers can use the software they buy from dark-web markets to generate email addresses and auto-send scams.
Many are familiar with these schemes as sometimes they can be comedically obvious. However, threat actors are not naïve, many have found insidious ways to disguise their schemes. For instance, recently, there has been a huge uptick in COVID-19 related phishing attacks.
With automation comes efficiency and increased organization. To reduce the risk and complexity of making money on dark-web forums and marketplaces, many vendors and buyers use automated services and software. Using these tools, cybercriminals can input what they want to buy or sell, making the procedure completely hands-off.
To inject more malware into a site, threat actors first need to succeed in their initial infection of said site. To accomplish the first infection, hackers use exploit kits which automate the exploitation of known web-browser vulnerabilities.
Many professionals in the cybersecurity industry have commented that getting hacked is more of ‘when’ rather than an ‘if’ scenario. With this reality in mind, encourage your clients to purchase cyber insurance to protect against the ruin of their business and livelihoods.
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